We regularly tout email marketing as a great way to reconnect with old customers or get new ones.
We know email marketing is effective when done properly and over time it can provide a significant return on investment.
The problem is many businesses pull out their email lists, dust them off, dump them into an email marketing system or Outlook and pull the trigger.
Then they find themselves with lack luster results or worse, their accounts may even be suspended due to high spam reporting and then they abandon their efforts.
There are several ways to avoid being flagged as spam and turn your email list into gold. This Marketing Insights will discuss how cleaning up your list will improve your results.
Evaluate Your List
The first thing you need to do is evaluate your list.
Be honest with yourself. How old is this list? Were they customers, prospects, or both? Is it likely they’re going to remember you? Do they even know that you still have their email address?
The next thing we suggest breaking out any of the generic email addresses into their own grouping (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, etc.). If you can, we would recommend avoiding marketing to these email addresses when reviving an old email list. This is because these companies “talk” to each other about spam and if your collective spam rate is high, it can result in reduced deliverability to these domains.
After you’ve separated out the generic emails, look at who is left. Can you tell if they were customers? If the answer is yes, this is great news. By segmenting these two populations, it puts you in a strong position to customize the messaging for your email marketing. If you can’t tell, we recommend assuming that they are all prospects.
Test Your List
One of the biggest risks with an old email list is that many of the emails there may contain invalid email addresses, spam traps (Mailchimp has written a great article on this topic), or non-user specified email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.).
Before You Market
There’s one last step before you start sending out weekly specials or regular communications.
You need to gauge interest and turn your old list into a live list of subscribers.
We recommend sending an email campaign to your list (multiple emails separated by a specific period of time it could be as few as 3 emails or as many as 8 over a couple of weeks) where you provide something of value in exchange for their agreement to be marketed to in the future.
These emails are best if they are short, to the point, and make the offer clear (a coupon, a free ebook, etc.)
What to Expect
Once everything is ready, it’s time to send out the emails.
Be sure you have a system in place to capture interested people (we recommend your offer be tied to a contact form that automatically puts them on a permission based list) so that you can deliver on your promise (it would be awful to make a promise and then fail to keep it, not a great impression).
Get a plan in place to stay in front of people who opt-in (and new clients/prospects) on an ongoing basis. Newsletters are an excellent way to add value on a regular basis, remind your clients that you’re here, make special offers, and ask for referrals.
What does this mean for Inspire clients?
If you’re not sure whether it’s worthwhile to dust off the old email list, consider the following:
- How big is your list (the larger the list, the greater the potential for new business but the greater odds of being flagged for spam)?
- What is the anticipated lifetime value of business you bring in?
- What is your required return on investment?
You’re probably not surprised to see the last two questions on the list but they are ideally the most important.
The last two questions will inform how much effort you’re willing to put into this recovery process.
If you decide you want to proceed, we recommend that you prepare for the following:
- Approximately 1 – 2 weeks (depending on how big your list is) to evaluate your email list (this process can be greatly simplified through the use of an effective CRM to manage your client/prospect list)
- Approximately 2 to 6 weeks to complete the short email campaign
If you plan to do it yourself, know that there is a lot more to consider. We’ll be sending out more information in the future.
If you’d like our help, please let us know. We’ll be glad to manage the whole process from end to end.